Esplanade Presents


What is living? What has been lost? What more can we be?

Drama Box (Singapore)

13 Jul 2024, Sat, 11am


(Intermission: None)

Esplanade Black Room

Free, registration is required


Registration begins 27 Jun 2024, Thu


This conversation invites us to contemplate the culture and history of indigenous, coastal communities.


The question of what is still thriving and also what has disappeared is not a nostalgia trip. How does it help us imagine and aspire to do better?



  • Representatives from Kampung Pasir Putih (Johor) 

  • Asnida Daud, Orang Laut/Pulau descendant 

  • Chan Kah Mei, history enthusiast 

  • Firdaus Sani, Founder of Orang Laut SG



  • Adib Kosnan, Co-director, Air 

  • Zulfadli Rashid, Playwright, Air 


This is a companion programme to Air (12 – 14 Jul 2024) at the Singtel Waterfront Theatre at Esplanade. The Studios companion programmes are an invitation to deepen engagement with the artistic works and the conversations raised in the season.


Conducted in English, with some Malay.
Interpretation to English will be provided.

Admission Age:
6 and above.
Language: English, Malay
Things to Note:
Accessibility Advisory: We provide a range of access services and relaxed performances for patrons with access needs. For wheelchair-accessible seats, please call Esplanade Customer Experience at 6828 8377 for assistance. Concessions for Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) and up to one accompanying companion are available. | View our accessibility guide
Artist Information

Asnida Daud

Asnida Daud is a dedicated educator, Malay language activist and poetic vocalist. She passionately preserves maritime heritage and island community narratives, bridging cultural gaps through stories and songs. Collaborating with researchers, Asnida showcases her commitment to education and cultural preservation. With expertise in media design for learning, she designs educational resources. As a multifaceted individual, Asnida strives to preserve and celebrate the rich heritage of island communities. She has received the Medal of Commendation (2020) and the Medal of Long Service (2023) in conjunction with National Day as recognition for her efforts towards the education fraternity.

Chan Kah Mei

Chan Kah Mei is a history enthusiast and former journalist who dabbled in documentaries: I Love Malaya (2006) and Lights Out (2009). In 2018, together with a few friends, she started collecting oral histories of the Orang Seletar living in Johor, Malaysia. It culminated in a short exhibition on the community, At the Water’s Edge. It was displayed at Drama Box’s play Tanah•Air 水•土:A Play In Two Parts in 2019 and at the National Library. She currently works in the civil service.

Firdaus Sani

Firdaus Sani, a fourth-generation Orang Laut/Pulau descendant rooted in the Southern islands of Singapore and Riau Islands, cherishes his family’s ties to Pulau Semakau. His grandparents’ relocation from the island in 1977 didn’t sever the connection; Firdaus, nurtured by their stories, founded Orang Laut SG in 2020. Through this platform, he preserves the island’s heritage via photography, anecdotes and traditional cuisine, skilfully prepared by his mother, Mdm Noorani Bte Rani. 


Firdaus actively advocates for indigenous representation in Singapore's education and public discourse. His engagements include a TedxYouth talk on sustainability, poetry readings at Singapore Writers Festival, and collaborations with Esplanade. He was recognised by Honeycombers as one of Singapore’s Local Legends, and listed under Prestige magazine’s 40 under 40.


Professionally, Firdaus leverages his experience from WWF-Singapore to integrate sustainability with indigenous practices through Orang Laut SG. Additionally, he started The Black Sampan, a social enterprise and marketing agency supporting local non-profits and grassroots initiatives. 

Adib Kosnan

Adib Kosnan is a theatre practitioner who is passionate about creating platforms for communication through theatre.


As an actor, he was named Best Supporting Actor at the Life Theatre Awards 2020 for his role in Angkat by Nabilah Said and Noor Effendy Ibrahim. His directing credits include Tanah•Air 土:A Play In Two Parts by Drama Box (co-director with Kok Heng Leun, 2019) and Rindu Di Bulan (2022) produced by RupaCo.lab. In 2021, he wrote and acted in Keluarga Besar En. Karim directed by Claire Wong and Joel Lim, which was staged digitally by Checkpoint Theatre and the Esplanade to critical acclaim. Adib was also a co-lead artist for Both Sides Now: Mengukir Harapan (2020 – 2022), a community engagement project focusing on end-of-life issues in the Malay Muslim community, produced by Drama Box and ArtsWok Collective. As a facilitator, Adib engages in forum theatre regularly and has devised and also conceptualised interactive programmes with students ranging from pre-school and tertiary levels.


Most recently, in 2023, Adib was awarded the National Arts Council scholarship to pursue his Masters in Arts Pedagogy and Practice at the LASALLE College of the Arts.

Zulfadli Rashid

Zulfadli Rashid is a playwright, known for his thought-provoking and powerful works that explore the complexities of the human experience. His works tackle a wide spectrum of topics, from personal struggles to societal issues, and are always marked by their emotional intensity and unflinching honesty. Written in the Malay and English language, his body of work continues to grow and evolve.


Over the course of his career, Zulfadli has written, adapted and more recently transcreated numerous plays that have been performed in Singapore and beyond. 


Zulfadli is also a dedicated educator and mentor, working with young minds to help them develop their craft and find their own creative voices.

Drama Box

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Founded in 1990, Drama Box is a socially engaged theatre company known for creating works that inspire dialogue, reflection and change. By shining a spotlight on marginalised narratives and making space for the communal contemplation of complex issues, the company seeks to tell stories that provoke a deeper understanding of Singapore’s culture, history and identity. 
Drama Box is a charity and Institution of Public Character (IPC) registered in Singapore, supported by the National Arts Council under the Major Company Scheme for the period of April 2023 and March 2026.

Date & Time

13 Jul 2024, Sat


Esplanade Black Room

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